Psyops | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader


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Psyops isn't for the faint of heart; then again, restless devotees of new music and free improvisation already know it don't come easy. But in the realm of acoust-electric, freely associative, you'll-know-when-you-get-there sonic exploration, it doesn't get much better, or at least wilder, than this. In his latest project, the trombonist/conceptualizer Jim Staley has gathered three like-minded artists: that is to say, they're equally ready to leap into the void and test the currents. Psyops includes multinstrumentalist Zeena Parkins, known primarily as a harpist who uses giant electrified blocks of sound as her calling chord; the highly electric guitarist Chris Cochrane, who has been known to bounce kitchen knives off his guitar strings for effect; and drummer Ikue Mori, a veteran of the lower-east-side music scene who has taken the drum machine--that miracle of ersatz sound and monotonous timekeeping--and turned it into an unpredictable creative instrument. These folks are so out to lunch, they're out to dinner, too. But the thrust of their intent remains dear; their deconstruction achieves completion; and their incorporation of electronic noise gives each musical collage a terrific kinetic boost. Tonight, 9 PM, Club Lower Links, 954 W. Newport; 248-5238.


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